Visigoth_The Revenant KingaI wasn’t aware how much I needed my ass kicked by some epic, trve metal of the olden style until said ass kicking was delivered by Utah’s Visigoth and their debut, The Revenant King. Their mega hefty, uber manly metal owes a lot to ancestors like Grand Magus, Argus, Sinister Realm and of course, Manila Road, and naturally, they specialize in long, bulky odes to swords, battle and honor (“Oathcore” for short). They do it all well and with a large dose of sincerity and seriousness, and when they sound the battle horn, even the most pacifistic will find themselves suiting up and girding those loins. By Crom, what else can you ask from your Mano-metal?

In honor of their namesake Germanic barbarians, Visigoth waste no time with fancy intros, opting to sack your intellectual property right off the bat with the mammoth title track. The burly, thick riffs immediately recall Hammer of the North era Grand Magus and the tough, rough-hewn vocals of Jake Rogers are a dead ringer for Alex Kristof (Sinister Realm) and the late Tony Taylor of Twisted Tower Dire. Most importantly though, the song rocks hard and rides free with the powerful punch this genre lives by. As Rogers roars about stolen thrones and unholy wengeance, you’ll feel the burn and want some payback of your own. It’s just good old headbanging glory, with testosterone levels set to stupefy and it’s one of my favorites of the young year in metal.

The rest of the album follows suit, with one stout-of-heart rocker after another. “Dungeon Master” may have an eye-rolling title, and the lyrics don’t help one bit, but they play it so deadly straight and heavy, it works despite the cheese factor. Even easier to get behind is the crunching doom juggernaut of “Mammoth Rider” where Rogers does his best pre-battle rabble rousing and speechifying. Likewise, the fist pumping righteousness of “Iron Brotherhood” cries out for a frat house bonding bender with your idiot buddies, just like classic Manowar once did.

“Vengeance” is the obligatory Conan themed anthem of…vengeance, and though the source material is from the Hyborian Age, it works as well as ever in the hands of these cossacks. And since these vandals just can’t keep their swords in their sheaths, even the token epic power-ballad (“Blood Sacrifice”) take a quick left turn and ends up all fighty, stabby and otherwise Odin-friendly. Hell, even when “Creature of Desire” heads into Thor levels of silliness (anyone remember the faux-epic “Thunder on the Tundra“?), the band’s chops make it workable and enjoyable.

visigoth_2015b

Are there downsides? Well, as per usual these days, things run long. At over an hour, there’s a lot of sword swinging and throne usurping to sit through. The individual songs could also stand some trimming, as they average between six and eight minutes. The sound is also a bit bricky, with the dreaded “wall of sound” popping up when the music hits faster tempos. It doesn’t kill the album’s charm, but a richer sound would have made the material really pop.

The biggest appeal here, for me at least, are the vocals. Jake Rogers has the perfect kind of voice for this genre and uses his powerful mid-range to sell these tales of dungeons and wagons, making even the corniest lyrics seem legitimate. He never strives for air raid wails nor ball-distressing shrieks, and basically, he’s the front man an actual group of Visigoths would support. Rogers is aided and abetted by the guitar tandem of Jamison Palmer and Leeland Campana, and their macho riffs easily pass my “Banners in the Wind” field test (i.e. does the playing involuntarily conjure mental images of war banners). They effectively blend doom, epic and classic metal styles, always mindful to keep things trve and heavy and their solos are often quite emotive.

I realize I’m a sucker for this kind of metal, but even so, I’m nothing but impressed by Visigoth. This is a polished and powerful debut full of memorable songs, and it makes me eager to hear more. If you have a hankering for ballsy metal of the trve variety, delivered with barbarian sensibilities by guys with quick sword hands, this is your horde. Sacking Rome has never seemed more possible and affordable.


Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 274 kbps mp3
Label: Metal Blade
Websites: visigoth.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/visigothofficial
Release Dates: EU: 2015.01.26 | NA: 01.27.2015

 

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  • Carniverous Ruminant

    These guys are definitely speaking my language. This gives me a metal stiffy.

    • Metal Stiffy is a great band name.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Yea, verily, it almost out-Odins Odin’s Organ.

  • good traditional merol. reminds me as a more interesting Grand Magus

  • Stefano Kevin Prince Vitali

    I am shaken and tired for the excessive fist pumping, sword swinging and battle crying the embedded video made me do. I’ll purchase the album as soon as possible. Winner

    • What about oath keeping? Did you forget the oath keeping?

      • Stefano Kevin Prince Vitali

        I’ll keep the oath to buy the record!

  • Mikko Ojanen

    I feel so conflicted about this video. On one hand, it’s some hilariously goofy shit, but on the other hand I have to admire the guys for just going for it without giving a damn. I bet they had a great time filming that stuff.

    Damn good song, too.

    • Carniverous Ruminant

      I just thought it was cool that they got Kid Rock to play the wizard.

  • Guy Reynolds

    I fucking love Utah’s metal scene – Gallowbraid – which is Jake’s other band. Caladan Brood, Ered Wethrin, and this. I guess it’s probably the same guys all working together – that Leeland dude is credited on Echoes of Battle. They can just keep it coming, as far as I’m concerned. Who knew Utah had been moved to Scandinavia?? :) Great review, by the way.

    • DrChocolate

      Eagle Twin. SubRosa. It weirdly goes on and on. I’ve lived in the SLC area for a few years now (SF East Bay born and bred) and outside of Caladan Brood I had no idea about this whole scene until like a week ago. I need to get out more….

    • Kryopsis

      Wait, there is a band called ‘Caladan Brood’? I absolutely must hear that (and read further into Malazan Book of the Fallen but that can wait)!

      • Guy Reynolds

        Yeah. Caladan Brood. Awesome. One of my favorite bands. How far you into the Malazan stuff?? And if you want Malazan lyrics, give Ered Wethrin ago as well.

        • Kryopsis

          I’m basically torn between wanting to start ‘Midnight Tides’ or spending that time to learn some human and programming languages instead. :)

          • Stefano Kevin Prince Vitali

            good luck with Midnight Tides… hated that book the first time, skipped when I reread. still, the finale’s worth it

      • Arikael

        They are awesome, check them out!
        I was kinda disappointed with Ered Wethrin, don’t know why, it’s not a bad album.

  • Øystein Olav Skaar

    Ballsy metal, indeed. That is truly an awe-inspiring music video! Nothing beats a bass-player donning a Legend of Zelda t-shirt. Pretty good album, too.

  • I had heard the revenant king on soundcloud, the video is equal parts cheese and awesome.

  • Hróðvitnir

    This is fun and straight-to-the-point melting cheese! I love how they wallow in the concept. Special mention for the cover artwork, which is awesome. Not the most intricate, complex or avant-garde music but it’s not possible to listen to it without headbanging with a smile on.
    So, that’s a winner for me! Great find, thanks.

  • Ah ha! Have a song called “Dungeon Master.” These guys are up my alley for sure.

    • Though I’d call this record a clear 3.5 for me. Not sure what pushes them over that, especially since their singer has.. eh… tone problems from time to time.

    • Feytalist

      Yeah, I couldn’t help myself when I got to that point. Had to listen to it.

      And it’s glorious.

    • doom-erik

      They even name-drop “Forgotten Realms”…

  • Michael Imbornoni

    Between the review and the song, I will definitely be giving these guys a listen.
    As a sidenote, have you guys listened to Noble Beast’s self-titled at all? It’s excellent

    • No, but now I’ll have to check them out.

  • Josh R.

    I’m almost positive that I have been to that lake in their picture. Anyway, I dig the song and video.. But it is rather long for my attention span.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      The lake is a famous tourist destination. Someone was trying to take a picture of it and these guys photobombed it.

      • Honey, there’s a trve metal band in our family photo again!

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Kind of like Sabaton meets Amon Amarth. Amon Amarth would be the skins…. I think.

  • RagE

    Love this band, can’t wait to hear the album!

    The video is fun. They dug out the old LOTR gear for this one eh? :P

  • Kalsten

    I am liking what I am listening on Spotify. However, this band needs the something that makes ManOwaR what they are (were): Eric Adams.

    For this kind of metal, you need a guy that is able to sing with balls, reaching the highest notes in a heavy way (not gay falsetto like others) and sing ballads with a lot of feeling.

    I would like a ManOwaR album with the production and songwriting of Visigoth, but with Eric Adams in the vocals. Or a ManOwaR album without DiMaio. I think that would improve the general shit they are releasing lately.

    • tomasjacobi

      What’s with all the CaPitAl letters in Manowar?

      • Kalsten

        It’s more trve.

        • tomasjacobi

          In that case I fully support it.
          Gotte keep up the trve-ness!

  • Kim Sørensen

    Listening to it right now on Spotify but on a good stereo… damn it would be nice with some green DR values

    I would crack open a beer and have a good time instead of checking sound settings :|

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    haha Oathcore…wipes tears from eyes…very enjoyable Druhm you had me laughing out loud at ” testosterone levels set to stupefy”. Sounds like fun though I’m not sure if i’d make it through a full hour of this…

  • doom-erik

    After listening to that song I got a sudden urge to play the latest Atlantean Kodex.

  • Roquentin

    I just got around to listening to this record and, man, it is magnificent.

  • antitayyip

    is there any song in this album with acoustic intro and outro like Epitaph to the King had??

    • “Blood Sacrifice” has a sweet, melodic lead in before going all Conan on your ass.

  • antitayyip

    Gallowbraid has an outstanding EP by the way…. love its acoustic pieces…

  • Arikael

    I really like it but where can I buy it digital?
    This is really bugs me, don’t force me to buy a CD or Vinyl. I won’t do it. I really wonder what goes on in the heads of some musicians. Oh well let’s just release it only on vinyl or even better just casette because fuck the normal people.
    Do they really believe I will go and buy a tape recorder?

    No, I didn’t mean Visigoth but somehow I needed to blow of steam.
    Everything’s fine now, just point to where I can buy this album digital ;)

    • Matthew Wayman

      It’s available on iTunes